by Ivor Powell

The Art of Being Still
Ivor Powell
Isaiah 30:15b; Psalm 46:10a

Among the collection of ancient sonnets known as the psalms of David, there were special contributions made by other writers. Psalm 46 is an outstanding example of that fact; it expresses the emotions of a person enduring great difficulties. It begins with "God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble." It ends with "The Lord of Hosts is with us." This was not one of the psalms of David, and most theologians attribute the work to Hezekiah, one of the later kings of Judah. If that assumption is correct, there were two incidents in the life of the monarch to which this song might belong. The first was connected with the boastful threat of Rabshakeh, who sent a blasphemous letter to Hezekiah; the second when the king was told to set his house in order and prepare to die (see Isa. 37:9-14 and 38:7). When the king of Judah was overwhelmed by circumstances beyond his control, the prophet ministered to him, and the Lord said, "Be still, and know that I am God."

Obeying this command does not infer that one has to be lazy. Being motionless does not necessarily mean doing nothing. To remain still in the face of advancing danger takes more courage than is natural among men and women. It means ceasing to rely upon self, and trusting implicitly in the promises of God.

Hezekiah, the king of Judah, was in great trouble. A huge army of heathens was about to destroy Jerusalem, and there was nothing the monarch could do to prevent the disaster. The fact that he was partly to blame for the situation did not decrease his fear. He had taken the gold and silver from the temple hoping it would purchase peace. Unfortunately, the sight of such treasure increased the avarice of the enemy, and Hezekiah quickly discovered "he had gone out of the frying pan into the fire."

A blasphemous letter had just arrived from the leader of the threatening army in which he said, "Let not thy God in whom ...

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